tv John King USA CNN September 20, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
also, the president's support among latino votes is down dramatically. how might that change the presidential race here in california and several key states? president obama is in new york city for the annual united nations general assembly. his biggest challenge is navigating a palestinian demand for an immediate security council vote on statehood. the administration has vowed to veto the palestinian request and risk a backlash on the arab street. but it is trying to negotiate some compromise so that it doesn't come to that. that's tough enough. and now add in this in your face political challenge from the republican presidential front-runner, texas governor rick perry, who came to new york city to accuse president obama of fumbling middle east diplomacy and undermining israel in the process. >> and we are equally indignant of the obama administration and their middle east policy of appeasement that's encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith. simply put, we would not be here
today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the obama policy in the middle east wasn't naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous. >> and the governor didn't stop there. he called the obama foreign policy naive and said that it left iran's radical regime emboldened. >> to date, we have fumbled our greatest opportunity for regime change. average iranian citizens were marching on tehran in the green revolution in 2009. america was wasting precious time on a naive policy of outreach to both the iranian and syrian governments. >> let's discuss the president's diplomatic challenge and governor perry's political gambit. cnn's david gergen and gloria borger.
let's start first with the policy challenge. the president was at the united nations. the president was not scheduled to meet with the palestinian leader abbas, but they will have that meeting wednesday. david gergen, how critical is it for the president to try to convince president abbas and what might there be as a compromise? >> it is enormously important to the united states, john, and to much of western europe. and that's why tony blair is trying to head this off. we are in this situation. president obama said he supports statehood for the palestinians. if the palestinians now look for a vote on that in the security council, we promise we would veto it. in other words, the president who supported statehood is going to now veto statehood and that, as you saw, will risk a backlash not only in the arab states but palestinians and could put the united states -- the statehood issue itself could lead to more violence. it certainly will lead to an end to prospects for negotiations any time soon with the israelis. >> gloria, the president, we know he is frustrated with the netanyahu government of israel.
we know he wish there is were negotiations and there had been more progress. but at the same time he has a, the united states and israel allies. b, domestic political consideration. listen here. listen here to former president bill clinton talking to wolf blitzer earlier today. if you listen closely, it seems that president clinton also thinks that mr. netanyahu has been too intransigent. >> sooner or later, everybody is going to have to come clean here. if they have no intention of having a reasonable settlement on the west bank, they should say that so the palestinians can get on with their lives and should live with the consequences. but meanwhile, the united states will veto this because we have to keep open the possibility of a negotiated peace. and the people in the arab world that understand that will be fine with it. we need to contain the fallout, make something good happen. >> and -- for a former president there who thought he was once
close to an israeli/palestinian agreement, that's a very small, if you will, goal, contain the fallout. >> and he is -- you know, he's really making a charge about netanyahu, saying, you know, there is talk that he really doesn't want this two-state agreement and he ought to come out and say it. i mean, it is very clear to me and, of course, don't forget bill clinton is married to the secretary of state of the united states, that he was -- you know, he was making a charge that there's not some sort of straight talk going on and it is clear that he feels for barack obama in all of this. >> and yet, they have to be so careful, david and gloria, because it is no question they are frustrated with the israeli government. also no question we are heading into a re-election campaign where being openly frustrated with their government could cost you key financial, key political support in the united states. it used to be said politics stopped at the water's edge. if the president was overseas
then his political rivals did not criticize him. the president is in the united states, but he is at major international meeting. the texas governor, rick perry, comes into new york city directs assault on the president's foreign policy and a direct assault on his relationship with israel. listen. >> neither american allies nor adversaries know where america stands. our muddle of a foreign policy created greater uncertainty in the midst of this arab spring and our policy of isolating and undermining israel has only encouraged our adversaries and their aggressiveness. >> now, that is certainly in your face. on camera, in the same city where the president is trying to manage diplomacy. not only governor perry, another leading republican candidate, former massachusetts governor, mitt romney, issued this statement today. when we are watching unfold at the united nations is an unmitigated diplomatic disaster. it is the culmination of president obama's repeated efforts over three years to
throw israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. and that policy must stop now. david gergen, is this new line in our politics, when the president is at such an important moment, does it surprise you that republican candidates are so in his face? >> it does, john. i actually -- did not think we would soon see someone to the right of george w. bush on israel. yet, here we are with rick perry. rick perry sounded like he was channeling netanyahu. he took almost every position netanyahu has taken and was very hardline about it and i say this about rick perry. he at least has gone to the region, he has been there and is not speaking entirely from ignorance. but it is such a hardlined position that it will -- as you well know, there was just this -- congressional election in new york in which a lot of jewish voters vote for the republican out of frustration with the president. there is an unhappiness with
president obama within the jewish community and this country and think he pushed netanyahu way too hard in the beginning of the settlements and he botched the negotiations. got a long litany of things. having said that, however, no one has gone as far as rick perry, who is in a major position of authority. the front-runner for the republican nomination, who essentially has said everything is okay with israel and it's all the palestinians' fault. >> i think, john, in the context of a republican primary, what rick perry did today may play pretty well. he was -- his press conference was with some hard-line conservatives. i think that it may play well in that part of brooklyn where the democrat lost 2-1 because of the conservative jewish vote. but i think that in a general election, there is still some suspicion about rick perry with some jewish voters.
for example, he led the august 6 day of prayer. and there's some -- you know, jewish voters that are sort of confused about that. so, i think that, you know, he's walking a fine line here, aligning himself with netanyahu on the one hand but there is still questions about him in the jewish community and there's some moderate jews who may not be aligned with netanyahu who may be independent voters. so, i think that there are two sides to it politically for him. >> i'm shifting gears here. i had an extended conversation with the former vice president, dick cheney, today. one of the issues we talked about was with his new book, he restirs up some of the old debates of weapons of mass destruction and reasons the bush administration went into iraq and stirs up tensions between secretary of state powell, former general colin powell, and the vice president of the united states. listen to this little piece of the interview.
>> general powell, or secretary of state powell, has said -- doesn't like a few things you said about him in here, you were someone who saw snippets or suggestions or possible evidence, but unproven unsubstantiated things and to you, they became facts. >> well, that's interesting coming from general powell. he is the one that went to the united nations after he personally had worked for days going over the intelligence and made the presentation to the united nations that turned out to be all flawed intelligence. i meanm if somebody got sandbagged, i think it was general powell. >> interesting language there, david gergen. he does concede it was all flawed intelligence, all flawed intelligence, and says that general powell one time he was considered a dick cheney friend. not so much now, got sandbagged. >> well, general powell did get sandbagged by people in the cia who misled him on some aspects of that, and to this day -- i think probably the most humiliating day of his public life. what is surprising is that dick cheney had been pounding on general powell so hard.
they were friends at one point. you always like to see friends renew themselves after it's over. thomas jefferson/john adams tradition, if you like when you leave office, to try to compose your differences. but i do think on general powell's party, there's no question that when he went to the u.n. that was -- i think the most humiliating day of his public life. >> you know, i -- >> gloria borger, go ahead, quickly. >> you know, i think that dick cheney is trying to say that, you know, colin powell himself got sandbagged, as if he had any choice but to believe the intelligence that he was presented with. it was sort of an interesting way of describing it. >> gloria and david, thank you. more of that conversation to come, my one-on-one conversation with dick cheney at the reagan presidential library. >> i just think the democrats ought to have as much fun on their side as we are on ours. >> and blockbuster allegations
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the author of a new book about the obama white house is defending his unflattering portrait of the president and top adviser. it quotes an ex-staffer, saying that the boy's club atmosphere made her feel like a piece of meat. it also describes the president as often uncertain, second-guessing himself. the treasury secretary tim geithner, major figure in the book, says those and other descriptions don't match the reality he lived.
on nbc's "today" show this morning, suskind defended what he wrote. >> everything in this book is solid as a brick. this book, like all the books i have written, is densely sourced and the analysis is picture perfect. when the curtain is pulled back they often respond vigorously. that's testimony to the fact that this is really -- really who they are. >> with us is a veteran of the obama white house, economic team, austan goolsbee. he's an economics professor at the university of chicago. mr. goolsbee, i want to play more of mr. suskind. so many of your former colleagues have said it is simply not true. here's a question here put to ron suskind as to whether larry summers, the president's top economic adviser at the white house at the beginning of the administration, thought the president of the united states was in over his head. >> seems he did. it seems from the comments of orszag and others, certainly the start of the first year in 2009 into early 2010, these sorts of
things were part of the prevailing conversation in the white house. when i asked larry summers he was one of the source force the book about that quote, i said look, what did you mean when he said that? he offers a comment which is more seasoned and less political than that and says we were overwhelmed. we had five times as many problems and didn't have five times as many people. >> incredibly damning mr. goolsbee, especially when you know the economy is such major challenge facing the administration. i want to read one more example from the book. larry summers to omb director peter orszag is described in the book -- you know, peter, we are really home alone. there's no adult in charge. clinton would never have made these mistakes. is this a fair characterization of what happened at the top levels of the white house at such a critical time? >> i mean, that doesn't at all describe what i saw. the episode you are describing there is ron suskind hearing what peter orszag says he heard larry say about a fourth person
and so i wasn't -- i wasn't at that dinner. i saw the book. i would characterize it as the -- you would want to read the book if you are the kind of person who would like to hear from the a ten-person meeting what the one person who was upset and happened to be the one who talked to ron suskind thought. i thought that the overall characterization that somehow the president wasn't decisive or wasn't really in charge was, frankly, ridiculous. we were in the middle of a terrible economic crisis, the worst in all of our lifetimes. and i can give you many examples where the president would hear the evidence on both sides. of course there are were disagreements. if you go find somebody upset they are going to say oh, i disagree and i was contradicted. >> one of the questions -- >> the president -- >> forgive me -- >> he decided and then would do it. >> forgive me for interrupting, but one of the questions here, and some of your former
colleagues are saying now privately under their breath, is larry summers so arrogant he is trying to protect himself and in the process criticizing the president? there is more in the book about you, more on the chrysler bailout. obama realizes goolsbee is the architect of the chrysler strategy and asks -- where's austan? summers had frozen him out of the meeting and go and get him. goolsbee presents his case. were you frozen out meetings by larry summers? is that how things worked? >> look, the -- i was on -- involved in these auto discussions. i don't think that it is appropriate for people who were advising the president in private meetings to come back and then try to relitigate their battles through some -- through somebody's book. i will say that i absolutely got my position heard, and everybody on that got their position heard. and that's a perfect example of where the president hears all the evidence, and he decides, in
very short order, what we are going to do and we proceed to do it and everybody gets onboard right away and says the president's decided, he heard the evidence and let's proceed. i mean, there's nothing -- administrations where everybody just says good idea, boss, and all agree with each other have not done very well through history. that there were people who disagreed on policy is not unhealthy. that's perfectly healthy. what i think was, to me, the most unrepresentive thing about the books the thing i think the book is flat-out wrong, is the author trying to portray that the president was indecisive, wasn't making decisions, wasn't getting things done. it's ridiculous. the president was absolutely making the decisions. and when he would make the decisions, people would get behind those decisions. >> austan goolsbee, we appreciate your insight tonight. we will continue to follow this one as the book plays out. japan braces for yet another
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there is new video of the crash itself and we want to warn you, it is disturbing. the pilot of the world war ii vintage plane lost control just before it plummeted into a crowd of spectators. several memory cards have been found at the site and may have come from data recorders on the plane. in an attack that raises questions about the competence of afghanistan's security forces, a man with a bomb hidden in his turban killed a former afghan president who was leading the country's peace talks with the taliban. 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate from western and central japan because of a typhoon expected to hit wednesday. that storm may pass by the fukushima nuclear plant. when we come back, one on one with the former vice president dick cheney. why he keeps encouraging hillary clinton to run on the democratic side. >> this is considered state of the art? >> oh, yeah. with us, in spirit, was every great car that we'd ever competed with. the bmw m5. and the mercedes-benz e63. for it was their amazing abilities that pushed us to refine, improve and, ultimately,
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live pictures there of the los angeles skyline. we are here in california tonight because the former president dick cheney is here for a book party and dinner at the ronald reagan presidential library. "in my time" is atop the "new york times" best sellers list. the former vice president stirs up a fair amount of controversy. between spent about an hour together today discussing issues ranging from his days in the ford white house to disagreement was president obama over taxes and waterboarding, not to mention his debate now over whether to seek a heart transplant and some political issues front and center today. on this day, the president of the united states set the united nations general assembly and the palestinians want to file for statehood.
they want the united nations to recognize them. their case is george w. bush supported statehood. barack obama supported statehood. we don't have statehood. we are going to try this way. why are they wrong? >> palestinians state, recognized and it looks like they are trying try to short-circuit the process here. i worry this is not going to advance the process and make it more likely that they can reach an agreement. it is likely to retard it, diminish it, and so i -- i don't think it is helpful. >> it is an important diplomatic challenge for the president of the united states, who happens to be a democrat at the moment, but important diplomatic challenge for any president of the united states. and on this day, one of the leading republican candidates for president, texas governor rick perry, decided to go to new york city, just blocks from the united nations, not only criticize the palestinians for doing this but criticize the president of the united states for having what he calls a policy of appeasement he says helped bring this moment about. is that appropriate?
i know we are in the early stages of a presidential campaign. when the commander in chief is about to appear at the united nations general assembly, smart move? >> i haven't seen what he said. i don't know what governor perry is up to. i'm not involved in our presidential primary process this time around. i haven't endorsed anybody. not likely to any time soon either. but i think there is room for criticism of the president in the foreign policy arena. i was disturbed when he went off to cairo and announced a proposition the united states didn't have any sort of special role in the world. we were just like everybody else. i think that's a mistake. i think that diminishes u.s. influence. >> that became a big argument in conservative circles. his take on that is he was inherit when he would call the baggage of the bush/cheney administration and the united states was reviled, especially in that part of the world and for a short period of time he
needed to be more diplomatic. you disagree? >> i disagree. it showed fundamental misunderstanding on his part and what the u.s. role in the world is. i don't believe that the u.s. is reviled in that part of the world. i have been involved out there off and on over the last 30 years through the first gulf war when between went out and in effect liberated kuwait and put saddam hussein back in iraq when we had a coalition that included every arab nation on the face of the earth, couple of exceptions. it is just -- it is just wrong and diminishes our influence and makes it more difficult for an american president, if he is going to do what barack obama did, which basically tried to say we are just like everybody else. >> on the politics, had john kerry or john edwards back at that time shown up 25 blocks from the united nations when george w. bush was giving his general assembly speech in 2003, you would have said okay, it is fair game? >> i don't know if i would have said okay. i didn't like a lot of things they said about us in '08. but i was vice president for eight years, john.
people say bad things about you all the time. it goes with the turf. if somebody steps out of bounds and goes overboard with it, then obviously that's a separate proposition. but the american people will judge whether or not they think a candidate is handling himself appropriately or is he abusing the prerogatives of criticizing the incumbent. >> you like to stir things up from time to time in politics occasionally. you said something in a recent interview that you thought the current secretary of state, former senator from new york, hillary clinton, would be strongest democratic candidate, not for vice president, for president in 2012. her husband, who has a little experience at this, former president, said he has high regard for your political skills but thinks you are trying to, quote, cause a little trouble. are you trying to cause a little trouble? >> he didn't turn down the opportunity to accept my suggestion that hillary ought to run. >> i think it is pretty clear she is not going to. >> i said it tongue-in-cheek. i think he could tell that. i think the democrats ought to have as much fun on their side as we are on ours. >> do you accept any responsibility for the birth of the tea party in the sense if
you talked to tea party voters, they would say the obama stimulus plan and obama health care plan, that was -- those were the last straws. that got them thinking government has too much power in washington, return to the states. if you have an extended conversation with most tea party voters they would say deficit spending in what was supposed to be a conservative administration, the bush/cheney administration and the bailouts, the government getting directly involved at the end that that for them said this is not what we bought. are you in part a father of the tea party? >> well, nobody has ever accused me of that. i did support the t.a.r.p. program. i did because the -- federal government, the only entity in our society that is an n a position to maintain the viability of our currency and the functioning, if you will, of our financial system. without that financial system
everything else falls apart. we get into the area of individual industries and the automobile industry or whatever particular product we want to talk about, that's a separate proposition. i think the markets ought to work there and the government shouldn't be in the business of trying to make sources or play favorites. when it comes to the basic fundamental functions of federal reserve board, treasury, and the overall health of our financial system and our banking system, only the federal government can maintain the liability of those institutions and it's absolutely essential we do it. if we hadn't done what we did with the t.a.r.p., we would have been in big, big trouble, much worse than we are. >> when a tea party voter rails against that, is it just they don't understand? they don't understand the complexity of it? don't understand that moment? >> they don't agree with me. that's their prerogative. >> as you watch the debate now among the republicans, you say you are not going to endorse now, maybe not any time soon, anything you see concern you? let me the ask particularly, when you see governor perry at
the moment the national leader in the polls, governor huntsman, former governor of utah, saying it is time to get out of afghanistan and quickly, does that worry you? >> yes. it does worry me because i think after all of the efforts that has been made and the sacrifice that's come in the form of lives of our soldiers and national treasury, both afghanistan and iraq are extraordinarily important. >> are they naive? >> i think they are responding to the -- what they believe to be popular opinion in the country. i haven't talked with either one of them about this. but i do see, in a sense, it is time to head for the exits. let's get out, bring the boys home, let's spend the money here and in the states. and i think that would be tragic if, in fact, it led to a resumption of the kinds of problems that both those nations faced when we went in. you have to remember, afghanistan was the base from which al qaeda trained their
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we'll have more tomorrow from my sit-down interview with the former vice president. interest conversations about a big disagreement with his successor as vice president. more on how george w. bush came to pick him as vice president. lot of talk about foreign policy. when we were done sitting down, we took a walk through the 707 a the reagan presidential library. air force one to many presidents. it was a plane defense secretary cheney took on many sensitive diplomatic trips around the world. we took a walk through it and stopped and chatted a bit more. trip down memory lane. some of the pictures, when you see president reagan with bob michel and there were some who remember those days. and some who say it is so different now. those were conservatives, the guys maybe more open to compromise and making a deal. are politics now -- have they changed from the tone and the --
diplomacy, for lack of a better term? >> certainly appears to. i remember the reagan era, when we fixed social security, 1983. and we put together a package that got the approval of president reagan and tip o'neill, democratic speaker. in those days, we also had a situation where republicans controlled the senate and democrats controlled the house of representatives and, of course, we control the white house. but it worked. >> was it people trusted each other? there was less acrimony? there was less of what i do, the cable, the blogosphere, what was it? >> there was certainly less acrimony. tip o'neill didn't get along very well with ronald reagan from a policy standpoint. but he liked him. i can remember the first time president-elect reagan came to meet with the bipartisan leadership of the house. i was a newly elected chairman
of the policy committee. i was included in the meeting. we sat down in a big circle, just us, the senate floor. and then the president came in and sat down in an empty chair. and tip began to go through a list of issues that we had to resolve, tax policy, deficits and so forth. he got all through it and he stopped. turned to the president and expecting the president to respond. and he told a joke about some irish movie actor. and we all scratched our heads and thought, you know, you have to respond. no. he knew what he wanted. he knew what he believed in and what he wanted to do. immediately, obviously, everybody is laughing by the time he gets through with his story, but it was a different style of leadership. and there was a degree of warmth and respect that -- well, frankly, i don't see today. >> and do we lose from that? >> we, you know, you -- you get -- get to be my age, you start to reminisce for the good old days. but it -- you know, i was a great admirer of tip o'neill. disagreed with him on virtually
every issue. served under him for some years. and a big fan of ronald reagan's. i don't want to convey the impression that somehow all was sweetness and light, it wasn't. on the other hand, at least during that period of time, we did -- we got a fair amount done. >> the tone about a lot of issues was different. we are having a conversation today on the day don't ask, don't tell, the repeal takes effect. in the book, you talk about how you bristled when john edwards brought up your daughter in 2004 during the debate because you don't like, a, your family being put into the public sphere. you think certain issues should be dealt with privately and more family-related issues or community-related issues. >> what i objected to especially was an effort by john kerry and john edwards to score political points off the fact that my daughter is gay. you had their campaign manager
on television saying that mary's fair game. no where was it true in a presidential contest that you would go after or try to use the candidate's daughter to score points in a debate. i thought that was over the top. >> what about karl rove and george w. bush when they thought it was close, they ended every speech with the constitutional amendment, something you made very clear that the president and you disagreed with him on. were you comfortable with that? did you think that was a bad way do business? >> it was not the same thing as what edwards and kerry were -- >> they were making it personal. >> they were making it personal by specifically naming my daughter and saying she's fair game. it wasn't a policy debate. the -- no. i think the president had strong feelings on the subject. many americans do. it is a divisive subject. perfectly okay if they -- that's what they believe. i didn't believe that. everybody knew what my views were. i was free to express them and did. >> as you were writing in this
book, are you obviously -- you have -- not quite sure what to call it, attached to you. when you were writing this book -- i don't know mean to sound morbid, were you thinking my days could be numbered and i need to get this right? this could be my last word. >> it wasn't directly linked to the book, but i was very much aware that my days are numbered. so are yours. mine presumably because i'm a lot older than you are, john. it's more of a factor for me. but i went through a period in the -- during the time i was writing the book where i became very ill. i had a long history of heart disease, had my first heart take -- atack at 37. in december of '09, shortly after i left the white house, i had had an episode of ventricular fibrillation.
your heart beats very fast. i had a defibrillator installed before and fortunately, it kicked in and restored the normal heartbeat. a few months later, my fifth heart attack. by the summer of last year of 2010, i had gone -- my heart simply wasn't moving enough blood to service my kidneys and so forth. so what we did was we went in and installed what's called a heart pump. it is not an artificial heart. we don't have those yet. but it's a pump that supplements the working my heart and moves blood to all of my vital organs and it's worked magnificently. i have to wear the vest all the time. it has batteries that power the control element and then inside small pump that runs in at about 7,000 rpm to move the blood through my system. it really worked well. back out on the river fishing, and -- i'm traveling the country, promoting the book, life is good. >> you are a case study in many ways in the advancement of the medical treatment of heart disease. you showed me back in 2002 in
your office, you had a mockup of the -- you just had installed then. >> exactly. >> back then. now that you have this. and the question is you mentioned you are going fishing with your daughter this weekend back home. what's the prognosis here? what's the consideration? do your doctors tell you if you want to have a transplant, are you healthy enough for that surgery? >> originally, this was developed, this technology, was developed as a transition so that somebody came in and needed a heart, one wasn't immediately available, you can install the heart and tied them over until a transplant became possible. so transplant is still an option. i haven't decided whether or not i want to go down that road. >> why not? what are the calculation? >> personal. >> is dick cheney getting unfair treatment or something? >> no, no, i don't worry about that. i will make a decision based upon discussions with my doctors and so forth as to whether or not i want to go down that road. the other thing that's happened is the technology has gotten
better and better, so we have more and more people living on a pump for a longer period of time. but i just -- you know, i get up in the morning and i'm delighted to be here and to have this time with my family and grandkids and get to write the book. it has been a remarkable period in my life. and i'm very grateful for it. >> let me close on that point. you wrote the book. and as you know, there have been some scathing reviews. some people saying why doesn't dick cheney say i regret this or i got this wrong? reflect on that as you close. i read this part. i'm somebody who keeps notes for my mother who i lost a long time ago. and i was struck by this. this is after the ford loss, your mother sent you this note. you say you've kept it in a frame for years. quote, it is hard to put down what i feel. much love, much pride. i know you will come out of this knowing that you did your best. you put that early in the book, about an early moment in your career. could you put it at the end of the book?
>> oh, i think so. that's obviously, a judgment i cared about a lot about, my mother. she has been gone for many years. i still have that letter. i like to think she would have approved of the latter stages of my career. she died shortly after i left the defense department. so, she never knew i got to be vice president. but she would have loved it. >> and to those that have seen the interview since the book came out and they are saying where's the apology, where's the regret? >> they probably didn't agree with me when i was in office and a certain group that don't think you have written a book until you have apologized for whatever it is they disagreed with you that you did. i don't worry about that. >> a young kid came to washington today, democrat, republican, independent, about to start a career in politics, your advice to him or her would be? >> go for it. it is a great life. it is very important. we need bright, young talented people who want to get night
rena and take on those responsibilities. >> mr. vice president, thank you. >> good to see you. >> good to see you. >> thank you. >> more of that conversation tomorrow but when we come back, i'm in california tonight. in this state and other key pat battle grounds he won in 2008, by his actions and inactions, is president obama risking his 2008 coalition? my doctor told me calcium is best absorbed in small continuous amounts. only one calcium supplement does that in one daily dose. citracal slow release... continuously releases calcium plus d for the efficient absorption my body needs. citracal. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is. we've got to be smart about this. it's a smart way to go.
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more evidence and debate with how hard it would be pore barack obama to win that coalition from 2008. this state, california is a case study. new research by the pew center and gallup shows the president's standing among latino voters is in steep decline. he pushes for higher taxes on millionaires, a democratic strategist who helped president clinton says that obama risks smashing apart that coalition from 2008. antonio villaraigosa is the mayor of los angeles and mark penn is the democratic strategist who sees huge risks in the president's calls for tax increase. mr. mayor, if we look back at the gallup poll, february 2009, the president had a 75% approval rating among latinos. a sky high number there. it is at the moment 48%. we talked to a member of the democratic national assembly. he says, "the president's
challenge is credibility. he made promises about immigration and other issues that he didn't act on. he'll have to engage the latino community and convince them to give him another chance. he's got to get out of washington and into town hall meetings." in california maybe the president has a margin, but if we looked at nevada, colorado, florida, there are some states where latino voters could decide yea or nay in 2012. how steep is the president's challenge? >> first of all, i think the president's challenge is the nation's challenge. it's the challenge of putting people back to work. and the president has put a plan to put people back to work. look, the president has better numbers than the congress. the fact of the matter is the president has a plan. the congress is essentially said no, no, no. yes, anybody -- >> mr. mayor, forgive me for interrupting, but i understand the economic challenge. but isn't there an additional lay-on, if you will, add-on in the latino committee because he promised in his first year he would pass comprehensive immigration reform. he never even submitted a bill to the congress.
>> actually, he's supported immigration reform and the dream act. he doesn't have a vote in the congress. the congress could have put forward a proposal and tried to, didn't get support for the dream act. look, with an unemployment rate as high as it is, of course there's going to be some slippage and even great slippage across the board. but i think when you look at what the president has done around jobs, when you look at what he's done around health care, when you look at what he did to save us from a depression instead of a recession, i think the vast majority of latinos are going to come back to the president. it's a year away. a long time to campaign. i know los angeles, i know california. and i can tell you that the president will win the latino vote in california, nevada and hopefully in florida, new mexico, colorado as well.
>> and mark, you wrote in the huffington post yesterday that the president had this great coalition of lower-income voters, affluent voters. you think he's at risk if he keeps pushing this proposal to raise taxes on millionaires. i want you to listen to your former boss, bill clinton. he talked to wolf blitzer today. he seemed to disagree with you. >> now, this is not class warfare to say we're all going to have to pitch in here, everybody has to give a little, but those of us who gained the most and paid the least in the previous decade should do our part. >> explain just where you see the risk, mark. >> well, the risk really is that president obama got unprecedented support among those households making over $100,000, which was actually 26% of the electorate. so his coalition was the lowest income voters and the highest income voters. he's the first democrat probably to ever win the over 200,000 household which was a top 6%. he needs to bring this coalition together to win re-elections.
he may have great policies and good policy points but he's sounding like a big taxer, he's sounding like he's moving to the left rather than embracing the vital center. it is not about one proposal. it's the way he's sounding to americans and the way he could be fracturing that coalition when he needs to bring it together in order to protect medicare, medicaid, education and the environment. >> john, i think he is fighting for the center. he's fighting for the center when he says our tax code should be fair, that we should all shoulder the burden of paying the taxes that we need to get the economy moving again. that is the center. and it's a position that the u.s. confence of mayors will get behind. that's a bipartisan organization. what we've said is our tax code should be fair, that we should focus on job creation, that we should cut the payroll tax. many of the proposals that president obama's made in the last few days. all we've heard from the congress is no. >> mark, i'm guessing that as the mayor makes his case for urban america, you think the president's hurting himself in suburban america?
>> well, i think that's exactly right. he really has to bring together these different voters and figure out a tax reform proposal that doesn't -- that isn't a temporary decrease nor one set of voters and a big increase for another set. he's got to look at a way to do it class neutral. that's the kinds of things that president clinton did, hope scholarships for people going to college. he used the tax system in a way that people in the middle class thought he was moving them forward. i don't think that's the way the president is sounding. it's not the way he's coming across. it will take a lot of work for him to get back to the vital center and secure those votes for this re-election. >> actually, the -- >> gentlemen, i need to call it a night right there. but interesting debate between two good democrats. they're important to follow. tonight, peace, politics and perry. >> the obama policy of moral